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Cyb

Doom: The Movie: The Review

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Does it feel weird to anyone else that the Doom movie is here? The rumors started way back when the original Doom was released, and they seemed to surface fairly regularly after that. Over time it was pretty much accepted that there would never be a Doom movie and all those rumors were horrible, horrible lies.

Of course then id went and released Doom 3 to somewhat lackluster fanfare. However it made them a lot of money, so naturally that, coupled with the development hype, would renew interest in a movie. Like Doom 3 or hate it, you can pretty much thank it for this movie. Or you can curse it for this movie I guess, but that's up to you.

I know some of you have an attachment to Doom, perhaps even an unhealthy one, and the thought of changing something about it makes you want to complain about it on the internet a whole bunch, and I'm sure you will. But let's face facts, Doom was never much for plot. It pretty much defined the first person shooter genre, but as far as a story went, you got a couple generic paragraphs in the manual and that was pretty much it. Even in Doom 3, which fleshed out the story, none of that plot crap mattered. In the end Doom is about a lone marine killing a whole lot of shit.

So, I give the movie the benefit of the doubt and I review it not as a connoisseur of cinema (which I'm not anyway), but as a gamer who likes games where he can shoot things and watch them writhe in simulated agony. If you're looking for a movie with an in-depth and complex plot, stimulating characters and interesting dialog, then you probably shouldn't bother. It's not that type of movie.

Doom doesn't mess around with things like character development. There are a bunch of marines, most of whose names I don't even remember. On top of that they're all very generic. You have the smart-mouthed black guy, the tough and quiet black guy, the nervous rookie, the religious guy, the creepy old guy, the Asian (yes, that is his defining characteristic), the hero and the tough-as-nails leader. On the UAC side you have an all-business scientist woman and a snarky cripple nicknamed Pinky for no apparent reason.

It's not like they don't make attempts at character development, it's just that they fail miserably at it. John "Reaper" Grimm (Karl Urban) and his sister Samantha "I'd hit it" Grimm (Rosamund Pike) witnessed the death of their parents on Mars when they were younger. I know that sounds like a huge spoiler, but it's not important to the plot in the least, and you simply won't give a crap when it comes up. This occurs to a lesser extent with some other characters (nothing about their past, just based on their current behavior), though oddly enough not with the Rock, who is a pretty major character.

And no, the demons aren't from Hell. They look like demons, smell like demons, sound like demons and act like demons, but they're not from Hell. I guess that doesn't matter, except that Hell would have made the movie a lot more interesting (assuming they did it right). Instead, the plot involves archeology and genetics experiments. The monster count is also pretty small with only three types of enemy; imp, hell knight and pinky demon (four if you count zombie). However it does take place on Mars, if that's any consolation. It may as well take place in New Jersey though, since the whole thing is indoors except for a brief shot of the Martian terrain.

The acting is flat most of the time. The lines are short and might actually be kind of snappy if not for the bad delivery. At times it was hard to tell if they were trying to be campy or the director just didn't care enough to get a decent performance out of his actors all the time. I'd expect that from the Rock since he wasn't arching one eyebrow and talking about what he was cooking, but Karl Urban is certainly capable of a better performance.

The other characters are so generic that their lines don't even matter. Religious guy is quiet, the rookie is nervous, creepy guy says some creepy stuff, and the smart-mouthed black guy says "aw hell naw". Okay, he only says "aw hell", but I bet they wanted to make him say "aw hell naw".

The movie tries be like Aliens (which is what Doom was based on in the first place), but it fails because it's bad at building up suspense. In Aliens you don't actually see any aliens for the first third of the movie, but Doom pretty much decides not to beat around the bush and you end up seeing them shortly after the marines arrive at the facility. The attempts at building up suspense aren't very good, and the requisite false alarms end up being funny instead of suspenseful.

I know I said I'd review it as a gamer, but I figured that I'd get all the movie stuff out of the way. As a movie it's not very good, and by all rights I should hate it, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Not because of the aforementioned unhealthy attachment to Doom, but just because it was a fun movie. Once the initial bullshit suspense build up is done, the movie gets into the nitty gritty of marines vs. monsters, and there's a whole lot of violence. There are a number of fights, many of which are so over the top that you just can't help cringing in entertainment as some poor marine gets thrown around like a rag doll.

And since I know people will ask; I really liked the first-person sequence. I thought I would hate it, I expected to hate it, but I didn't. It was very goofy at points, but it was a pretty cool tribute to the source material, and really it was pretty interesting to watch. It's probably something you need to see in a theater to fully appreciate, because I'm sure it loses something if you watch it on a TV or in Windows Media Player (don't deny it!) without the big screen and booming sound. Anyone who is a fan of Doom will probably at least appreciate that sequence, even if you don't like it. I'm sure it will become a hot topic for debate on all the gaming web sites and forums in the future, and you know that's going to be a lot of fun.

What else is important about Doom? They already wrecked the Hell angle, so we move on to the weapons. No rocket launcher, but there's a heavy chaingun, shotguns, pistols and what I guess were pulse rifles of some sort. Strangely the guns had flashlights attached to them. Also the Rock finds the BFG which is assuredly big and a gun of the fucking-sized variety. It fires a large blue projectile that pretty much turns whatever it hits into a smoldering pile of melted... stuff. The Rock isn't much of a BFG whore though, so he only fires it a couple times.

Oh hey, and don't forget the zombies! If you ever wanted to see a movie where a bunch of marines mow down a shitload of zombies with automatic weapons, then you should check out Doom. Sadly all the other zombie movies I've seen were lacking in automatic weapons, which is surprising because it seems like such an obvious thing to do.

So yeah, I didn't hate this movie and I'm sure I'll be in the minority when it comes out on Friday. I guess saying "I didn't hate it" or "it's not that bad" are the best compliments I can give it, because it's still not a very good movie by any means. So perhaps the unhealthy obsession with Doom does come into play, because I still enjoyed the movie even though I probably shouldn't have. I really couldn't tell you why. It's a just a simple, brainless movie, and you'll either hate it or enjoy it for what it is. Also apparently having an extra chromosome doesn't make you retarded, but in fact makes you super human. You learn something new every day.

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Cyb said:

Also apparently having an extra chromosome doesn't make you retarded, but in fact makes you super human. You learn something new every day.

Didn't the main character from Hitman have an extra chromosome, too? I always wondered the same thing about that guy.

Anyway, I still haven't decided yet whether or not I'm going to see this.

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iori said:

A gentler review than I expected, nice.

Well sure, he got a free complimentary screening of the movie before it came out. It's hard to get too angry about it.

Cyb said:

I know some of you have an attachment to Doom, perhaps even an unhealthy one, and the thought of changing something about it makes you want to complain about it on the internet a whole bunch, and I'm sure you will. But let's face facts, Doom was never much for plot.

Isn't that a pretty good reason not to make some half-assed movie about it then? I liked Doom's plot not so much as a plot, but as a general background that never takes itself too seriously. Doom 3 obviously missed the joke and decided it was supposed to be spooky and serious, and this movie just takes it to a ridiculous level and tries to make some sort of rational sense out of things that you really weren't supposed to think deeply about in the first place. At least for me the problem isn't that they're "messing up" the plot, it's that they're making a plot out of nothing, and instead of doing so comically they feel like everything has to be explained. Which isn't a very innovative or interesting idea, particularly when their medium of choice is a trashy Hollywood movie.

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sargebaldy said:

Blah blah


My point was that the movie doesn't have any sort of serious plot. There is one of course (kind of hard to make a movie with no plot), but it's all an afterthought to the last half of the movie which is pretty much just stuff getting killed. The major change is rather than the monsters being from Hell, they're explained another way which is probably just as nebulous.

I'm not sure where in my review I ever stated that it has any sort of great serious plot. It's very much to the contrary and that's one reason it's not a great movie.

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Hmm, It sounds like to me that the movie dose indeed have a plot, but the sad fact is that they are trying to make some sort of mini apocalyptic survival scenario, and try to make you (the audience) take it serious. I feel what every one thinks its lacking are 2 things, first its lacking an "interpretational" story line, secondly it seems to be lacking the power behind the acting to make the acting seem beliveable (not allways the actors fault)

BUT hey, like usual, what do I know? I just watch movies... heh:)

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Sounds to me like the movie doesn't take itself seriously at all. I guess I'll have to see to judge for myself.

And that will happen in about 48 hours exactly. Me and my friends are psyched

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It's a movie "based" on the "plot" of Doom.

What did you expect?
Judging from the review, it obvisuly could have been better (much like my spelling), but I'm quite sure for the most part It'll be at least a decent action flic.

The monsters should have been from hell, but I digress...

I'll only be able to see when it come out on dvd alas....

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Personally for me, what matters in the Doom plot is the teleporters and demons coming from hell. All else is subject to change. But those two are the fundamentals. Sure Doom as a game were focused to be a simple and furious action gore fest. But if that's what the movie focused on mimicing, then I might just aswell play the damn game some more.

Buut. I for some reason still want to see it for my self. So I plan to do that. Me and my Doom addict friends.

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I'm g-g-gonna see it anyways. AND I'm g-g-gonna bring my big handkerchief too, coz of all those poor li'l zombies gettin whacked.

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kristus said:

Personally for me, what matters in the Doom plot is the teleporters and demons coming from hell. All else is subject to change. But those two are the fundamentals.


It does have a teleporter, actually, but it's not a focal point in the movie at all. It's just there as something of a nod to the games and in order to transport the marines to Mars quickly of course.

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I love it when reviews suggest that I'd like the movie so much better if I didn't look at it like [someone who would have expectations or a standard to hold it to], but rather [someone who traipses around and is still really knocked out about that whole harnessing beams of light thing].

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Numbermind said:
I love it when reviews suggest that I'd like the movie so much better if

I've still to see the movie, but I see that as a proper reply to the people expecting dumb carp (based on the games tradition and what makes it "DOOM") that wouldn't even make a good movie.

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Great review man. Sounds about right.

The Rock isn't much of a BFG whore though, so he only fires it a couple times


Wouldn't a DM (comedy) film be terrific? :-)

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So the movie is good if you forget that it's based (poorly) off of the game?

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I think movies have too much plot nowadays, I would pay to see something like...

Death Island!

Our special effects team is being held at GUN POINT,
our make-up team's families have been KIDNAPPED,
our director is a raging SCHITZO PSYCHOPATH
and our actors have been told to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Theres no PLOT.

Theres no REASON.

But we have a surpluss of DEATH and OTT EXPLOSIONS,
so we're giving some back to you!

All you need to know is that 20 COMBAT VETERANS
are FIGHTING to the DEATH and have a FUCKING RIDICULOUS
arsenal at their finger tips.

Duration = 3 hours.

Now that this ADVERT is RELEASED we have no NEED for WRITERS,
so we're THROWING THEM onto the island TOO!!1!11111
Despite this I'm looking forward to Doom because it sounds like most of the things that destroy the doom-ness fall in on themselves.

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So this is the review, based on the movie, not the movie based on the book, based on the original game, or am i missing something?

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ravage said:

So the movie is good if you forget that it's based (poorly) off of the game?


No, the movie is bad, but you will like it if you like movies with guns and monsters and lots of things getting shot and beat up. And since you like Doom you probably like all that stuff.

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Thanks for the review Cyb, it gave me better hopes for the movie, that maybe, just maybe this movie won't completely ruin Doom's reputation. Hell it might even get some people interested in the original game again.

I hope it's worth the five bucks.

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Thanks Cyb. I needed to read a review that was somewhat balanced. Those other three I read had two catagories: It sucks, or it's great. So this makes me think it's bad, but still worth it for it's own reasons.

Well, basically, I'm just going to watch it for the ultraviolence at this point. Mmm, moloko and ultraviolence.

Oh yeah, off topic

Cyb Said:
Strangely the guns had flashlights attached to them.

Seriously, people, get the fuck over this. It wasn't that significant, it's not a big deal, and you really didn't need the flashlight anyway.

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